New research finds more than 50% of single parents are sleep deprived during the pandemic

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The stress parents may be feeling since the pandemic began could be having a deeply negative effect on their sleep schedules. (Getty Images)
The stress parents may be feeling since the pandemic began could be having a deeply negative effect on their sleep schedules. (Getty Images)

The Sleep Judge surveyed  over 800 parents to understand their bedtime routines, and this is what they discovered.

Having an effective sleep routine, often referred to as sleep hygiene, can be critical to helping ensure children get the amount of quality sleep they need on a regular basis.

But while parents are focused on setting the right bedtime rhythms for kids, limiting access to technology and video games at night, or even considering the feng shui of their children's bedrooms, they might be forgetting to take care of themselves.

For a closer look at how the pandemic has impacted the amount of quality sleep parents are getting at night, the Sleep Judge, reviewers of all things related to sleep, surveyed 1,000 Americans (including over 800 parents) to understand their own grown-up bedtime routines. 

Read on to find out more about what the survey uncovered on the most difficult elements of parenting during the Covid-19 pandemic, including how many hours of sleep parents are really getting and how children's sleep hygiene during the pandemic might be negatively impacting their parents.

Also see: Lockdown got your family stressed and sleepless? A certified sleep consultant advises parents

Losing hours under the sheets

With the Covid-19 pandemic, the past year and counting has been a difficult experience for millions. And while the impact of the pandemic has been broad, perhaps one of the most universal elements has been stress.

As we discovered, the stress parents may be feeling since the pandemic began could be having a deeply negative effect on their sleep schedules.

To start, parents were asked a simple question, "Are you getting enough sleep during the pandemic?" 

According to the Sleep Judge survey results, just 40% of parents felt they're getting an adequate amount of sleep each night, though mothers (33%) were even less likely to feel well-rested than fathers (48%).

In addition to the disparity between men and women, single parents (32%) were significantly less likely to report getting enough sleep compared to two-parent households (41%).

Overwhelmingly, 48% of parents admitted to getting less sleep during the pandemic than they were before it began. Parents of infants (30%) were also the least likely to indicate getting enough sleep, on average.

With overall shorter sleep cycles, parents of infants can expect to wake up every two to three hours, depending on their baby's age.

Before the pandemic, parents reported sleeping an average of 7 hours and 10 minutes every night. After the pandemic's onset, parents surveyed indicated getting just over 6.5 hours of sleep each night, averaging nearly four hours less per week.

Trickle-down sleeping habits

With limited or amended options for schooling and daycare, millions of parents had to make significant shifts in their children's routines to accommodate distance learning and social distancing recommendations. These changes were not only tough for kids. 

Forty per cent of parents indicated their children had negatively impacted their sleep during the pandemic, including 37% of men and 43% of women.

Mothers, particularly working mothers, have been harder hit by the pandemic's impact on their home life with changes to child care and distance learning. With few options for leave from their jobs, many women struggled to stay in the workforce at all with the added pressures of their home life.

Parents of younger children, including infants (64%) or toddlers (50%), were more likely to indicate their children have negatively impacted their sleep during the pandemic. In contrast, parents of young teens (34%) and teenagers (30%) were the least likely to report negative changes to their rest cycles. Parents aren't the only ones getting worse sleep.

Twenty-seven per cent of parents said their children's sleep had been hindered during the pandemic, and 22% said their children were getting less sleep overall.

Four in 5 parents admitted their children had picked up a new sleeping habit during the pandemic, including staying up later (40%), struggling to fall asleep (35%), sleeping in later (32%), and using more technology at night (30%).

Also read: Parenting in a Pandemic: Creating healthy routines

Challenges of parenting in the pandemic

Parents aren't the only ones stressing out about the pandemic, and one of the best ways to keep kids calm is to maintain as much of their regular routine as possible. Unfortunately, it can be more difficult for parents to create normalcy for their children than you might expect.

Forty-one per cent of parents admitted it was more challenging to handle their children during the pandemic, including 36% of men and 46% of women. Single parents (51%) were also considerably more likely to struggle with their children's behaviour during the pandemic than those in two-parent households (40%).

And while younger children (mainly infants and toddlers) might have the most disrupted sleep due to the pandemic, parents were more likely to indicate older kids, including 9- to 11-year-olds (47%) and teens (46%), were more difficult to handle.

School-aged children currently engaged in distance learning may be prone to extra distractions caused by technology. Those who struggle with focusing or maintaining their attention span may find distance learning even more challenging.

For parents, the most difficult tasks during the pandemic included:

  • Putting children to sleep (36%).
  • Maintaining consistent bedtimes (48%) and wake-up times (36%).
  • Getting children to do homework (26%).

Fifty-eight per cent of respondents said they found parenting more exhausting during the pandemic, and 55% said it was more frustrating.

In addition to feeling more stressed (72%) and overwhelmed (63%), we found parents were also feeling less in control (48%) or mentally well (46%) during the pandemic.

Disrupted family routines

For millions, the pandemic and its effects on daily life and routines have been stressful.

For many parents, the stress of balancing the impact of the pandemic at home has had a direct, negative effect on the amount and quality of sleep they've been getting since the pandemic began.

And while many parents admitted their children have adversely impacted their sleep, these effects were even worse for single parents and mothers.

Republished with kind permission from the Sleep Judge

Find the original article here.


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